Design: performance lever for the company

Design, with its approach and tools, represents an opportunity for the company to significantly and sustainably increase its performance. It remains to know why and how.

Designing from a business point of view

The general definition of design is as follows: combination of a plan, a strategy and a design, an outcome.

From a business point of view, design is a comprehensive approach that combines strategic vision, the ability to create relevant solutions and consideration of economic and social issues.

Its purpose is to increase the attractiveness of the organization by improving the life of all stakeholders (employees, customers, users, partners, etc.).

The piloting of the project is therefore learned on two levels:

  • Strategic leadership: understanding of the market and its evolution, as well as reflection on the present and the future must be satisfied, in a holistic approach to the functioning of the company (current or planned) and its ecosystem
  • Operation management: mastery of the various specialties and design tools and harmonious integration of these within all key activities and processes (marketing, research and development, production, sales, etc.)

Some might ask, reading this: “So how does design differ, for example, from marketing? “.

Two aspects distinguish design and marketing:

  • The position: design focuses on peaceful growth and does not consider “more and more” as the dominant criterion, but “always better”. In other words, it is about making the life of the target audience more enjoyable while being virtuous from a social point of view and efficient from an economic point of view.
  • Co-construction: design cannot be conceived outside of a collaborative approach. This is a transversal approach – which is not limited to brainstorming – and which aims at the continuous optimization of operating methods and results.

That said, we mustn’t pit design against marketing. These disciplines are complementary: marketing is an excellent means of affirming ambitions, setting objectives, facilitating the positioning of a solution thanks, in particular, to tested techniques of analysis and segmentation.

And this applies to all disciplines.

What about design thinking?

If the virtues of design thinking are no longer to be demonstrated – development of proposals that are attractive (for the customer), practicable (for the company) and feasible (from the technological point of view) – it is often used at the solution level and not from the point of view. in view of the overall strategy: it therefore seems preferable to us to use only the term design.

In general, the fact of attributing a qualifier to the term design tends to specialize this discipline and to limit it to a specific, and therefore restricted, area. There is strategic design, product design, digital design just as there is strategic marketing, product marketing or digital marketing: we are there in the corporate competence (operational management) and not in the global approach (strategic management).

Rapidly changing designs and markets

Design has a great advantage: its systematic desire to understand, propose and materialize, most often in the form of a digital or physical demonstrator.

In other words, design contains within it the possibility of grasping the entire value chain of a solution – from the initial strategic analysis to the definition of its architecture and associated uses – or, finally, the ability to take into account the components key to the economic model of this solution, which means, among other things, a considerable saving of time.

The advantage of design is expressed in particular in rapidly changing markets, where new environmental, ethical or regulatory constraints are forcing the actors in place to completely rethink their value propositions and, very often, the entire economic model.

There it is necessary to build new experiences with a differentiated vision of uses – a privileged exercise of design -, taking into account the company’s ability to respond consistently to the constraints and needs of all interested stakeholders.

How design increases performance

This ease of design to see a given problem differently and to offer the appropriate experiences in an optimal configuration of realism, attractiveness and durability constitutes a formidable performance lever, for at least three reasons:

  • It grows up to a holistic approach (and shared) of a given topic taking into account all the needs and constraints of the stakeholders concerned
  • Develop the ability to design high quality experiences: placing attractiveness, value in use, durability, repairability, recyclability at a high level of requirements
  • Promotes a “natural” increase in operational excellence: Bringing perfectly tailored experiences to market requires high-performance and properly interconnected processes, IS, companies and data

In conclusion

Integrating the design approach and tools within the company is not an option.

Today there are few, if any, performance levers as simple and effective as design, provided that:

  • To position the design in its rightful place: combination of strategic vision and operational know-how
  • Not to consider design as a miracle recipe: in particular, because an idea is worth nothing without the operational control to turn it into reality under the best conditions
  • To ensure that the design approach and tools integrate harmoniously with the various activities and processes of the company: since design is essentially collaborative, it turns out to be one of the most effective dismantling tools
Article produced with the contribution of Isabelle Macquart, associate director of the company in strategy, organization and transformation Experience creators.

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